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WEEKEND EDITION: NEW ENGLAND BULLNET ON THE AIR  SATURDAY ON 3928 AT 3PM FOR SWAPNET.....No regular flu this winter, imagine that! Washing your hands, wearing masks and kids staying home from school did the trick....Wind chill brings it down to 10 degrees here on the rock.....SpaceX rocket almost has it almost right....Mysterious odor caused by BB pellet stuck in teen's nose for 8 years ....Keep opening up the borders and this is what you will get...Today's Dumbass from Russia....

Foundations of Amateur Radio

Word of the day: software

Every community has its own language. As a member of that community you learn the words, their meaning and their appropriate use. For example, the combination of words "Single Side Band" have a specific meaning inside amateur radio. Outside of radio, those same words are random words with no relationship.

Sometimes a term like "FM" can be heard across many communities with similar understanding, though not identical.

It gets tricky when a word is used widely but doesn't have a common understanding at all. A word like "software" for example.

A question you might hear in amateur radio is: "Can I buy a software defined radio or SDR that has digital modes built-in?"

It's a perfectly reasonable question, the radio runs software, the digital modes are software, so the answer is obvious, right?

What about: "Can the hundred or more computers in my car play Solitaire?"

Aside from the perhaps unexpected fact that your car has computers on board, you most likely know the answer to that. No, since the computers are specialised for different tasks - and if you're driving a Tesla right now, yes, you can play Solitaire, but I'd recommend that you keep your eyes on the road instead.

My point is that not all software is created equal.

The software inside an SDR is essentially doing signal processing, often by several components, each running software, transforming an antenna signal into something, that can be used somewhere else, likely sound.

The applications WSJT-X and fldigi, both software, use a computer running Linux, MacOS or Windows, software, to decode and encode digital modes while providing a way for you to interact with it. Software running on software.

You might well argue that we should be running applications like that directly on our radio and on the face of it that sounds perfectly reasonable, except that to achieve that, you'd also need to build a system to install and update different types of applications, so you could run SSTV, APRS, RTTY, PSK31, FT8 or any of the other hundreds of digital modes and new ones as they are developed.

If you did that, you'd also have to provide a way to manage the operating system, to connect to the Internet and provide security. You'd need to develop a user-interface, perhaps a keyboard and mouse solution, a screen, etc.

Before long you'll have developed a whole computing infrastructure, much like the one we already have in the form of the computer on your desk or the phone in your pocket.

Computers are getting faster and faster every day. This allows for the software on them to become more and more complex. The inter-dependencies are increasing by the second, but that doesn't mean that specialisation isn't useful.

A software defined radio likely has a Field Programmable Gate Array, an FPGA on-board that is great at processing data in streams. It too runs software. Your microwave is running software, as is your television, your smart-watch, your battery charger, the gearbox in your car and your electric tooth brush.

Making a distinction between the various types of software is helpful to understand what is possible and what is not. Being a computer nerd, I must point out that I've only barely scratched the surface of software here, in-case you're curious, microcode, firmware, hardware abstraction, the rabbit hole goes very deep.

Not all software is created equal and every now and then it's a good idea to remember that when you talk about a word in one community, it might mean a completely different thing in another and sometimes the distinction is significant.

As for having an SDR that runs WSPR, no. You can transmit from a computer though, but that's a whole other thing.

I'm Onno VK6FLAB

Amateur Radio Newsline Report

DON/ANCHOR: We begin this week with the story of a promise fulfilled: In the language of space, Perseverence isn't just the name of a rover on Mars. It's a quality that paid off among students in Wyoming who — after a failed attempt in January — finally got their QSO with the International Space Station. Here's Mike Askins KE5CXP with the details.

MIKE: Students at Wyoming's Newcastle High School were flying high, at least in spirit, on Monday, March 1st. Their amateur radio contact with ISS Commander Mike Hopkins KF5LJG was a success at last, after their first try failed as a result of technical troubles with the U.S. astronauts' radio. With that radio down for repairs, the QSO took place via the Russians' 2-meter rig instead and the students' questions rolled in fast, making the most of their precious 10-minute window for contact. After hearing how bok choy and mustard is grown in space, how astronauts gently toss a football around for amusement and how a microgravity environment can cause fluid in the ears, the students wrapped things up by saying 73.

The contact, accomplished with the help of a multi-point telebridge network, was a triumph for the high school as much as the ARISS program: It marked the first time in the ARISS program's 20-year history, that it has organized a QSO with students in Wyoming.

To hear the QSO, visit the YouTube site that appears in the printed version of this week's script.

DON/ANCHOR: In the meantime, ARISS chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, announced that efforts were under way to identify the issue that caused the radio to fail in January and a team is working with NASA and the European Space Agency on a solution.


DON/ANCHOR: Meanwhile, big things have been happening OUTSIDE the ISS, too. Paul Braun WD9GCO picks up the story from here.

PAUL: For two amateur radio operators aboard the International Space Station, it was their moment in the sun. Literally. NASA flight engineers Kate Rubins KG5FYJ and Victor Glover KI5BKC took the first moves toward a power upgrade for the space station, during a seven-hour and four-minute spacewalk to outfit the new solar arrays with modification kits.

If the view for observers was a little more spectacular than usual, consider that Rubins' helmet held a high definition video camera for the first time and was streaming the action live. Videos had been taken previously using a helmet cam, of course, but only with standard definition.

NASA was quick to point out that the present solar arrays on the ISS are working fine but they're degrading and are approaching the end of their useful life. The spacewalk was designed to prepare for the installation of new solar arrays which are expected to be sent to the ISS aboard a SpaceX vehicle starting in June.

Meanwhile, there is still work to be done. NASA officials said that the upgrade is to be completed by Friday March 5th, with Rubins returning accompanied by another amateur radio operator: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi KD5TVP.


DON/ANCHOR: In the UK, the telecommunications regulator recently delivered a rapid response to a report of radio interference – but this wasn't exactly an amateur radio crisis. Jeremy Boot G4NJH explains.

JEREMY: It took barely a half-hour as Ofcom, the telecommunications regulator in the UK, responded swiftly to an urgent report of widespread RF interference, calling it a high priority case. Even the local police got involved and awaited the arrival of a spectrum engineer dispatched from Ofcom's Spectrum Management Centre, which operates around the clock.

The crisis at hand wasn't jammed signals reported by radio operators but the failure of shoppers at a Hertfordshire superstore to use their key fobs to unlock their vehicles in the car park. Because the key fobs use radio spectrum at very low power they are subject to interference issues the same as other radio equipment.

Using his spectrum analyser, the engineer was unable to pinpoint the source of the interference, which could have been simply lightbulbs or a malfunctioning doorbell. The situation had already resolved itself by the time he arrived.

Hams in the UK should report any and all interference to Ofcom, via the web address given in the text version of this report at arnewsline.org.... even if their vehicle's key fob is working fine.


DON/ANCHOR: Imagine getting a QSL card from Pluto. Thousands did. Well, OK, it was really the next best thing: a special event station celebrating Pluto. Here's Randy Sly W4XJ with the details.

RANDY: Amateur radio operators from around this world recently celebrated the discovery of another world: Pluto, which was first seen in 1930 by astronomer Clyde Tombaugh. Special event station W7P – with "P" for Pluto – was activated last month by the Northern Arizona DX Association for the Pluto Anniversary Countdown Special Event. There will be an event counting down each of the next 10 years, ending with the centennial year 2030.

This was a particularly special event for Doug Tombaugh N3PDT, nephew of the astronomer who made the discovery. Doug marked the occasion by operating along with three other amateurs as W7P/0, logging 1,191 contacts. He said he especially enjoyed talking with other amateurs who knew his uncle or were involved in other activities related to Pluto.

Countdown coordinator Bob Wertz NF7E said in all 15 amateurs logged more than 7,000 contacts from their home QTHs as well as from a communications trailer on the grounds of Lowell Observatory, where Clyde first made his discovery.

The countdown begins again next year on February 12th – the last Saturday before the February 18th anniversary itself.

For Amateur Radio Newsline, I’m Randy Sly, W4XJ.


DON/ANCHOR: Now here's a story that should energize you: A ham radio operator has helped develop a way to bring more of the sun's power home to Earth. Kent Peterson KC0DGY sheds light on this.

KENT: Amateur radio ingenuity has helped lead to the development of a prototype solar panel designed to transmit electricity to Earth from outer space.

Launched in May of 2020 aboard a Pentagon drone, the device is known as the Photovoltaic Direct Current to Radio Frequency Antenna Module, or PRAM for short. Project co-developer Paul Jaffee KJ4IKI said in a recent CNN report that the PRAM underwent a successful test recently by the United States Department of Defense at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

He said the PRAM produces about 10 watts of energy for transmission but could be scaled up, bringing the promise of transmitting energy to the power grids back on Earth. The panel uses the blue waves of light in space which become diffused when entering the Earth's atmosphere. It captures these waves, which are more powerful than sunlight on Earth, and retains that energy.

No, the PRAM hasn't yet sent any of that power back home but scientists say the tests have shown it works. The concept is to beam microwaves to Earth for conversion into electricity wherever it is needed. Paul told CNN that the next move would be to expand its ability to collect even more sunlight to prepare it for that microwave transportation back to Earth.

Team co-leader Chris DePuma told CNN the technology would be especially useful in regions where natural disasters have taken down the power grid.


DON/ANCHOR: If you're one of those amateur radio operators who likes to get on air FROM the air, as a pilot, this next story from Andy Morrison K9AWM might have you in mind.

ANDY: Dan Hileman WO5WO is a ham with a high-flying idea. A former airline pilot-turned-middle school teacher has another project on the runway. He's planning to start a podcast this summer devoted to hams who enjoying being IN the air....as much as they like to be ON the air. He'd like to bring hams on board for ragchews about fly-ins, DX-peditions, FAA flight safety tips, and projects that combine being a pilot and an amateur radio operator. He's especially interested in stories of famous – and not-so-famous – hams in the sky. He told Newsline in an email that the podcast is [quote] "just a fun way to connect already connected hobbies" [endquote] and he can't guarantee there won't be more than a few corny jokes along the way. He said he hopes the half-hour, bi-weekly podcast will inspire youngsters to think about flying and radio as two related hobbies.

He's working with a ham radio friend who's a former Air Force pilot and together they're hoping to, well, get things off the ground. Dan welcomes any and all ideas. You can reach him via email at flyinghams78@gmail.com Who knows what ideas might just take wing?


DON/ANCHOR: Hams in South Africa are partnering with hams in Kenya to help that nation's newest amateurs. Jim Meachen ZL2BHF brings us that story.

JIM: The Communication Authority of Kenya has approved a memorandum of understanding that will allow the South African Radio League to assist the Radio Society of Kenya by administering the technical parts of the amateur licence exam. Regulator approval of the agreement was announced in late February. The memorandum outlines how the Kenyan radio society will continue to administer the regulations and operating procedure portions but states that the South African group will conduct online courses for training of the Kenyan amateurs and provide the training manuals and presentation material as well. The arrangement, which had been worked out during the past six months, can now go forward. SARL has similar agreements in place with Namibia and Botswana.


DON/ANCHOR: When it copied signals recently from two space probes near Mars, AMSAT Germany was listening for a special reason. Ed Durrant DD5LP explains.

ED: AMSAT-DL, which has a long-term goal to launch a space probe to Mars, has been listening meanwhile to probes from China and the Emirates that are in orbit around the planet. Using the Bochum Observatory dish at the Sternwarte Bochum Institute, the German AMSAT organisation has copied signals from Tianwen-1 and EMM/Hope, both of which are transmitting on 8.4 GHz. AMSAT-DL makes use of the dish on a regular basis to receive transmission from the NASA/NOAA weather satellites.

Built in 1965 to provide ground support for the Apollo missions, the dish was renovated in 2003 with the help of amateur radio operators who added phase-locked receivers in the 2.3 GHz, 5.8 GHz and 10.4 GHz amateur bands, along with the 8.4 GHz receiver. The dish also has an S-band, 2.4 GHz amateur transmitter with 250 watts PEP output. The dish, which is 20-metres, or 65.6 feet, in diameter, copied signals from Voyager 1 in 2006.

AMSAT Germany's plan for a probe of its own dates to 2002, when preparations began for a way to circle Mars, conduct experiments and leave a payload on the planet's surface. Scientists hope the German P5-A probe will be capable of transmitting on amateur radio frequencies receivable on Earth using a 2- to 3-metre parabolic antenna.


DON/ANCHOR: Hams in Brazil have challenged the nation's regulator, saying its lack of response is keeping hams off the air. Jeremy Boot G4NJH has that story.

JEREMY: Brazil's amateur radio society LABRE has told the nation's communications regulator ANATEL that problems communicating with them and their website have been standing in the way of many who wish to operate legally on the ham bands.

In a letter dated the 23rd February, the radio organisation LABRE acknowledged that the recent introduction of online licence testing had eased some of the difficulties in getting on the air but hams are now thwarted by the bureaucracy they face in order to complete the process. The letter cited excessive days waiting and a lack of communication from ANATEL. LABRE said that these difficulties have been reported by newly licensed amateurs as well as those qualifying for upgrades.

In a report of the letter, which appeared on Southgate Amateur Radio News, there had been no immediate response from the Brazilian regulator.



DON/ANCHOR: It's time to think about amateur radio camp – and the application period is now open for young hams throughout North, Central, and South America. The Youth on the Air camp will take place from July 11th through July 16th at the National Voice of America Museum in West Chester, Ohio and will welcome as many as 30 campers ages 15 through 25. Scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the $100 camp fee. The window to apply closes on March 21st at 2359 UTC. For details or to download a brochure visit YouthOnTheAir.org

Organizers will announce in April whether camp needs to be rescheduled in response to COVID-19 restrictions but for now the plans are going forward.


DON/ANCHOR: Speaking of young hams, we have opened the nomination period for our annual Bill Pasternak WA6ITF Memorial Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham of the Year award. Think of a young amateur whose commitment to community and whose enthusiasm for radio has inspired you and others and submit their name. Nominees must 18 or younger living in the United States, its possessions or any Canadian province. Downloadable nomination forms can be found on our website arnewsline.org



In the world of DX, be listening for special event station GB2CR in Scotland until the 18th of March. The special callsign's suffix "CR" stands for "Collins Radio," and the operators will be using vintage valve/tube radio equipment manufactured in the U.S. by Collins. Be listening on 80-10 meters; mostly SSB with some CW. All QSOs will be uploaded to ClubLog.

Be listening for Bill, K9HZ; Kyle, WA4PGM and Dan, W0CN active as J68HZ from a villa in St. Lucia until March 11th. Their activity is usually on 160-2 meters using CW, SSB, FT8 and EME. QSL J68HZ via LoTW, eQSL or direct to K9HZ

Stian LB5SH will be active as JW/LB5SH from the JW5E club station on Spitsbergen Island in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. He is expected to be on the air between March 25th and March 28th on various HF bands using SSB and FT8. He will also be in the CQWW WPX SSB Contest on March 27 and 28th using the callsign JW2T. Send QSLs to JW/LB5SH and possibly JW2T via LoTW or ClubLog.

Be listening for Ian, ZS6JSI, who began operating from Benin as ZS6JSI/TY in January and expects to be there for six months. Be listening mostly on 20 meters where he is using FT8. He also operates mobile and can be heard at times on 80/40/20 meters using SSB and


DON/ANCHOR: If you've ever refurbished an old boat anchor, you know the challenges of adding a piece of history to your shack. No doubt you can relate to this next story about a powerful old Collins boat anchor. Ralph Squillace KK6ITB tells about a new video that chronicles its rescue and its cross-country journey several years ago.

RALPH: The control room and the Collins 250,000-watt transmitters once used by Voice of America at its Delano Relay Station in California is transmitting history now instead of U.S. government broadcasts that began during World War II into the Pacific Rim and Central and South America. The transmitter, once part of Delano (duh-LAY-no) Relay DL-8, is now part of the permanent exhibit at the Antique Wireless Association Museum in Bloomfield, New York, where its cross-country journey ended almost six years ago with the help of the museum, the Collins Collectors Association and the VOA.

A video moderated by Dennis Kidder W6DQ and recently uploaded by the museum shows the painstaking effort of the team to save the 821A-1 transmitter from the bulldozer headed its way after Voice of America halted its operations there in 2007. The team, working to do disassembly and transport on a tight deadline, consisted of Jim Stitzinger WA3CEX, Bill Cairns N7OTQ, Rod Blocksome N0DAS, CCA president Scott Kerr KE1RR and Vince Baker from the VOA, among others.

This was not just Collins' most powerful transmitter for a shortwave broadcaster; it could also autotune within 20 seconds, helping it successful avoid jammers seeking to silence the U.S. government's messages. Its story, however, remains unsilenced: Visitors have shared its message and its history at the Antique Wireless Museum and now in this 40-minute video uploaded to YouTube in February.

Quantum Receiver Can Detect Huge Swath of the RF Spectrum

US Army researchers have built a so-called “quantum sensor,” which can analyze the full RF spectrum and real-world signals, a report on Physics.org says. The quantum sensor — technically a Rydberg sensor — can sample the RF spectrum from 0 to 20 GHz and is able to detect AM and FM radio signals, as well as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other RF communication protocols. The peer-reviewed Physical Review Applied published the researchers’ findings, “Waveguide-coupled Rydberg spectrum analyzer from 0 to 20 Gigaherz,” coauthored by Army researchers David Meyer, Paul Kunz, and Kevin Cox.

“The Rydberg sensor uses laser beams to create highly excited Rydberg atoms directly above a microwave circuit, to boost and hone in on the portion of the spectrum being measured,” the article explains. “The Rydberg atoms are sensitive to the circuit’s voltage, enabling the device to be used as a sensitive probe for the wide range of signals in the RF spectrum.”

Cox, a researcher at the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory, called the development “a really important step toward proving that quantum sensors can provide a new and dominant set of capabilities for our soldiers, who are operating in an increasingly complex electromagnetic battlespace.”

Cox said earlier demonstrations of Rydberg atomic sensors were only able to sense small and specific regions of the RF spectrum, but “our sensor now operates continuously over a wide frequency range for the first time.” The technology uses rubidium atoms, which are excited to high-energy Rydberg states. These interact strongly with the circuit’s electric fields, allowing detection and demodulation of any signal received into the circuit.

The report says the Rydberg spectrum analyzer has the potential “to surpass fundamental limitations of traditional electronics in sensitivity, bandwidth, and frequency range.

According to Meyer, “Devices that are based on quantum constituents are one of the Army's top priorities to enable technical surprise in the competitive future battlespace. Quantum sensors in general, including the one demonstrated here, offer unparalleled sensitivity and accuracy to detect a wide range of mission-critical signals.”

The researchers plan additional development to improve the signal sensitivity of the Rydberg spectrum analyzer, aiming to outperform existing state-of-the-art technology. “Significant physics and engineering effort is still necessary before the Rydberg analyzer can integrate into a field-testable device,” Cox said.

March GEO Newsletter available for free download

The March PDF of the GEO Newsletter weather satellite publication produced by the Group for Earth Observation is now available for free download

The Group for Earth Observation's aim is to enable amateur reception of weather and earth imaging satellites that are in orbit or planned for launch in the near future.

Membership of GEO is free.

This edition features:
• A tribute to Francis Bell G7CND, who passed away early in January
• Two articles about iceberg A69a, covering its 3-year journey and encounter with South Georgia
• An introduction to 'NASA Worldview Snapshots' which provides imagery from NOAA 20
• Plus features on the Strait of Hormuz, Lake Turkana and on the SOHO solar observatory

Download the GEO Newsletter from

Who is that masked man?

A person wearing a TV-shaped mask left old TVs on more than 50 doorsteps in 2019

When residents of Henrico County, Va., woke up on Sunday morning, a number of them were greeted with the sight of vintage television sets sitting on their doorsteps. But it wasn’t until a few of the recipients checked their doorbell cameras that they discovered the mysterious deliverymen made the drops while wearing what looked like old TVs of their own on their heads.

Henrico Police Lieutenant Matt Pecka told WTVR-TV that more than 50 TVs were left at homes throughout the neighborhood by more than one person “wearing a mask resembling a television.”

“We determined there was no credible threat to residents and that this was strictly an inconvenience. It was…unique,” Pecka said, adding that police were able to round up the TVs in just over an hour on Sunday. The county plans to recycle them.

The general sentiment among residents who were gifted with the old box sets seems to be that the nighttime deliveries were part of a prank. Especially considering that the same thing happened in a nearby Glen Allen neighborhood last August.

“Everyone started coming out of their houses, walking around the neighborhood looking at the TVs there on the doorstep,” Jeanne Brooksbank, one of the recipients, told the Washington Post of Sunday’s incident. “It was very Twilight Zone.”

“He wants to be known as the TV Santa Claus, I don’t know,” Jeanne’s husband, Jim Brooksbank, added. “I can’t think of any technology or political point that would be valid here. It’s just a senseless prank.”


DX News from the ARRL

March 5, 2021

This week's bulletin was made possible with information provided by The Daily DX, the OPDX Bulletin, 425 DX News, DXNL, Contest Corral from QST and the ARRL Contest Calendar and WA7BNM web sites. Thanks
to all.

ZAMBIA, 9J. Bodo, HB9EWU is QRV as 9J2BG while working on a humanitarian mission in the Luapula Province. He is active in his spare time generally on 20 meters. QSL to home call.

OMAN, A4. Operator A41CK will be QRV as A42K as a Single Op/All Band entry in the ARRL International SSB DX contest. QSL via EA5GL.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, A6. Greg, KD5ESG will be QRV as A65HH while on work assignment in Abu Dhabi. QSL via operator's instructions.

SPAIN, EA. Special event stations AM3DIM and AM3YLD will be QRV from March 6 to 12 to commemorate International Women's Day on March 8. QSL via operators' instructions.

CANARY ISLANDS, EA8. Miguel, EA1BP plans to be QRV as ED8W in the ARRL International SSB DX contest as a Single Op/All Band/High Power entry. QSL via EA5GL.

MARTINIQUE, FM. Station FM5BH will be QRV as a Single Op/All Band/High Power entry in the ARRL International SSB DX contest. QSL via W3HNK.

SCOTLAND, GM. Chris, GM3WOJ is QRV with special call sign GB2CR until March 18 to honor the legacy of the Collins Radio Company. Activity is on 80 to 10 meters using SSB and some CW. QSL via LoTW.

ECUADOR, HC, Rick, NE8Z is QRV as HC1MD/2 from Santa Elena Province until May 15. Activity is on 40 to 6 meters. QSL via K8LJG.

VATICAN, HV. Look for IK0FVC to be QRV as HV0A in the ARRL International SSB DX contest. QSL via LoTW.

ST. LUCIA, J6. Bill, K9HZ, Dan, W0CN and Kyle, WA4PGM are QRV as J68HZ, J68CN and J68PG, respectively, until March 11. Activity is on the HF bands. They will be active as J68HZ in the ARRL International SSB DX contest. QSL direct to home calls.

PERU, OA. Ed, W9SI plans to be QRV as OA4SS in the ARRL International SSB DX contest as a Single Op/All Band/High Power/Unassisted entry. QSL via KB6J.

CURACAO, PJ2. Don, AF4Z, Vince, K4JC, Dan, N1ZZ and Walt, WB5ZGA are QRV as PJ2/home calls until March 9. Activity is on 160 to 10 meters. They will be active as PJ2T in the ARRL International SSB DX contest. QSL PJ2T via W3HNK and all others to home calls.

BONAIRE, PJ4. Marty, W1MD plans to be QRV as PJ4G in the ARRL International SSB DX contest as a Single Op/Single Band entry on either 20 or 15 meters depending on conditions. QSL via LoTW.

POLAND, SP. Special event stations SN0ZOSP and SN100ZOSP are QRV until February 5, 2022 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Association of the Voluntary Fire Brigades of the Republic of
Poland. QSL SN0ZOSP via SP9ODM and SN100ZOSP via SP9SPJ.

BENIN, TY. Ian, ZS6JSI is QRV as ZS6JSI/TY from Parakou until June. Activity is in his spare time on 80, 40 and 20 meters using SSB and FT8. QSL via EC6DX.

EUROPEAN RUSSIA, UA. Special event station R125PR is QRV during March to celebrate Alexander S. Popov's first wireless transmission 125 years ago. QSL via R1AU.

MARSHALL ISLANDS, V7. Paul, KA4WPX is QRV as V7/KA4WPX and V73AX from Kwajalein Atoll, IOTA OC-028. Activity is at various times on 160 to 10 meters, and possibly 6 meters, using CW and SSB. QSL direct.

ASCENSION ISLAND, ZD8. Tev, TA1HZ is QRV as ZD8HZ until mid-April. He plans to be active in the ARRL International SSB DX contest and the upcoming CQ World Wide WPX SSB contest. QSL direct to home call.


The ARRL International SSB DX Contest, NCCC RTTY Sprint, QRP 80-Meter CW Fox Hunt, NCCC CW Sprint, K1USN
Slow Speed CW Test, Novice Rig CW Roundup, Wake-Up QRP CW Sprint, Open Ukraine RTTY Championship, UBA Spring CW Contest, NSARA Contest, SARL Hamnet 40-Meter Simulated Emergency SSB Contest and the WAB 3.5 MHz Phone will certainly keep contesters busy this upcoming weekend.

The OK1WC Memorial is scheduled for March 8.

The Worldwide Sideband Activity Contest and RTTYOPS Weeksprint are scheduled for March 9.

The RSGB 80-Meter Club CW Championship, AWA John Rollins Memorial DX CW Contest, VHF-UHF FT8 Activity Contest, CWops Mini-CWT Test, QRP 40-Meter CW Fox Hunt and Phone Weekly Test/Fray are scheduled for
March 10.


THURSDAY EDITION: The Army's new tool for analyzing bomb shrapnel could lead to better body armor ...Here is a radio I would stay away from....If you thought the rising home costs are high in New England, check out this garage in Canada...Do not screw with monkey's....

ARISS, NASA, and ESA Continue to Probe Amateur Radio Problems on ISS

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, reports that the ARISS team has been working closely with NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) to identify what may have caused what ARISS is calling a “radio anomaly” on January 27. The net result has been an inability to use the NA1SS ham station gear in the ISS Columbus module. For the time being, ARISS school and group contacts with crew members have been conducted using the ham station in the ISS Service Module. The radio issues came in the wake of a January 27 spacewalk during which astronauts installed new cables (essentially feed lines) to support the commissioning of the Bartolomeo attached payload capability mounted on the Columbus module. The job involved re-routing the cabling of the ARISS antenna to the ARISS radio system onboard Columbus.

“Through a great deal of coordination with NASA and ESA, ARISS will be conducting a set of APRS [automatic packet radio system] tests to determine the operational use of the ARISS radio system in Columbus through employment of three different cabling configurations,” Bauer explained this week. “Over the next couple of days, ARISS will be performing a series of tests using our APRS capability through the standard 145.825 MHz APRS frequency. The crew will be periodically shutting down the radio and swapping cables, so ARISS can troubleshoot the radio system and the cabling.” Bauer said precise swap times will depend on crew availability and expected the tests to run through sometime on March 3.

“We cannot guarantee that these troubleshooting tests will resolve the radio issue,” Bauer said. “But we encourage ARISS APRS operations in this time span.”

Bauer said that if the tests are unsuccessful, “a contingency task” has been green-lighted for a March 5 spacewalk (EVA). “This EVA task would return the ARISS cabling to the original configuration prior to the January 27 EVA,” he explained, noting that a contingency task will only be performed if time allows.

Bauer asked that APRS users not send “no contact” emails or social media responses, “as this will overwhelm the ARISS team.”

“But, if you definitely hear the packet system working or are able to connect through it, let us know the date, time, and grid square of the occurrence,” he added.  

Approaches to Tackle Noise Problems Vary, Remedies Elusive

RF noise is a frequent discussion topic among radio amateurs. A proliferation of electronics has cluttered and complicated the noise environment; it’s not just power lines anymore. Unless isolated from civilization, most hams experience RF interference (RFI) — sometimes without even realizing it, although spectrum scopes on modern transceivers make RF noise much more apparent. Various approaches to address the apparently worsening noise floor have been taken around the world, some addressing lax regulation.

“We all want to enhance our ability to copy the weak ones by increasing our signal-to-noise ratio,” Alan Higbie, K0AV, said in his March/April NCJ article, “Tracking RFI with an SDR One Source at a Time.” He suggests practical methods for individual radio amateurs to improve their own noise environment. “We can do that by reducing the noise on each band that we operate. Lowering the noise floor increases the relative signal strength of weak signals. Those in typical residential environments find that locating and eliminating RFI sources is a never-ending process. It is much like weeding a garden.”

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) warns against complacency. “Radio amateurs cannot sit back, because even if the desired noise limits are agreed, there are many rogue manufacturers and dealers who will happily sell noise-generating devices, leaving out filter circuits to cut costs,” IARU said in a statement. IARU has urged member-societies to get involved.

The FCC Technological Advisory Council (TAC) — a Commission advisory group — initiated an inquiry in 2016 looking into changes and trends to the radio spectrum noise floor to determine whether noise is increasing and, if so, by how much. The TAC had encouraged the FCC to undertake a comprehensive noise study in 1998, and cautioned the FCC against implementing new spectrum management techniques or initiatives without first concluding one. In 2017, the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) invited comments on a series of (TAC) spectrum-management questions. ARRL, in its comments, took the opportunity to strongly urge the FCC to reinstate the 2016 TAC noise floor study, which, ARRL asserted, was terminated before it even got started. ARRL urged the FCC to “depart from the traditional regulatory model” that placed limits only on transmitters and called for “a ‘holistic’ approach to transmitter and receiver performance.”

Greg Lapin, N9GL, represents ARRL on the TAC and chairs the ARRL RF Safety Committee. “Perhaps the best result that we obtained was an indication that illegal devices, mainly LED lights, were in circulation, and the Enforcement Bureau agreed to look into it,” he told ARRL. “We never heard what they found out, but recently, I was buying some LED bulbs over the internet from a site in Texas, and they were selling non-FCC approved lights — and didn’t seem to care.” Lapin said his complaint went nowhere, and the TAC’s focus has been nudged in the direction of addressing 5G issues.

MARS Volunteers Recognized with Gold-Level President's Volunteer Service Award

A dozen US Army Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) volunteers have been honored with gold-level recognition for the President’s Volunteer Service Award for 2020.

They are Bob Mims, WA1OEZ; Ron Tomo, KE2UK; Mark Bary, N4EOC; Billy Pearson, KO4XT; Dave Bock, W8OHS; Bob Baker, K5LLF; John Monson, WB0PLW; Gary Geissinger, WA0SPM; Brian Handy, W8JBT; Bliss Wheeler, W7RUG; Jim Hamilton, K4QDF, and Daniel Wolff, KA7AGN.

Each award recipient receives a letter signed by the President of the United States, a certificate of achievement, and a presidential volunteer service lapel pin. Volunteer awards are based on the certifying organization’s recommendation and the number of documented volunteer hours for the year.

BBC Monitoring Service in 1941

In 1941 British Pathe produced a newsreel about the radio monitoring work carried out by the BBC

"Many of you listen in to foreign broadcasts and listening in Britain is free, but when you switch off you needn't worry that what comes in over the air isn't being checked and reported to the right quarter. It is. The BBC has taken on many new jobs in wartime and one of them is to keep a sleepless watch night and day on the broadcasts of the world."

"Every twenty four hours we pick up and record something like 500,00 words, from hundreds of different transmitters, friendly, neutral and enemy in a score of different languages.  This is done by our monitoring service working in close collaboration with government departments."

The newsreel features one of the BBC monitoring huts and shows the National HRO receivers and wax cylinder recorders.

Monitoring of BBC radio broadcasts (1941)


WEDNESDAY EDITION: MRI on the schedule to confirm whether I have a partial or full tear of the rotator cuff and associated muscles. It looks like day surgery is in the near future, could be a lot worse, no complaints here....

Radio station in Antarctica in the good old days...

Moldova Peace Corps to Sponsor March 3 Amateur Radio on the International Space Station Contact

An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact between youngsters and youth in Moldova and an International Space Station (ISS) crew member is set for March 3. The Moldova Peace Corps (MPC) is the hosting organization, and 90 students (aged 10 – 18) from a consortium of educational institutions, rural schools, and libraries from nine Moldovan villages will participate.

MPC promotes economic and civic development with a particular focus on developing local resources in rural and suburban communities. Another focus of MPC is to provide youth in Moldovan villages with access to STEM opportunities and build capacity among local teachers/librarians to implement STEM activities in their curricula.

During the multipoint telebridge contact, students will take turns asking questions of astronaut Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG. ARISS team member David Payne, NA7V, in Oregon will serve as the relay amateur radio station.

In support of this contact, the MPC partnered with the staff at the Centre of Excellence for Space Sciences and Technologies within the Technical University of Moldova (UTM), the US Peace Corps Volunteer Coordinator, and the participating schools and libraries. The contact will be livestreamed via the MPC and UTM Facebook pages. 

Ofcom speedily respond to report of interference to licence-exempt devices

Ofcom sent an engineer out just 30 minutes after receiving a report of interference to unprotected licence-exempt devices, they say they treated the case as 'high priority'

Ofcom say:

Car key fobs, like lots of other everyday technology, use radio spectrum to operate. On rare occasions, faulty or unauthorised equipment can interfere with nearby technology and prevent it from working properly – such as in the case of these customers’ fobs.

Ofcom’s Spectrum Management Centre, based in Baldock, Hertfordshire, provides a 24-hour service to industry and to members of the public, by monitoring the radio spectrum. This service also allows people to report radio interference.

On Friday 26 February, an officer from Hertfordshire Police contacted us to make us aware of the problems at the supermarket car park.

Due to the nature and scale of the problem, we assigned this as a high priority case, and sent out a local engineer who was soon on the scene to investigate the problem.

Within 30 minutes, our spectrum engineer arrived at the car park to investigate the problem. To do this, we use a spectrum analyser – a piece of equipment which measures the airwaves and detects any radio signal which shouldn’t be there. However, at that particular moment the problem wasn’t actually happening, and customers were able to lock and unlock their vehicles successfully. So, we asked staff at the supermarket to get in touch if any more customers reported further issues over the weekend.

Read the full Ofcom story at

Saint Petersburg special event

Look for special event callsign R125PR from to be active between March 1-31st.
Activity is to honor the world's first radiogram ever sent.

The special callsign was requested by the "Association of Radio Amateurs of St. Petersburg" to commemorate the 125th anniversary of wireless signal transmission demo.

On March 24, 1896, Alexander Popov completed first ever radio transmission at the Russian Physical and Chemical Society of Saint-Petersburg Imperial University. The radiogram consisting of two words "Henrich Herz" transcended a distance of 250 meters. Alexander Popov was present when indescribable exhilaration seized the audience after the words were received, decoded and chalked out on the blackboard. This was the world's first transmission of an intelligible text by wireless telegraphy.

QSL via R1AU.

PJ4G Radio House on the air

Marty, W1MD, will be active as PJ4A from the 'PJ4G Radio House' on Bonaire (SA-006, WLOTA LH-1279) during ARRL DX SSB Contest (March 6-7th) as a Single-Op/Single-Band (20 or 15m) entry.

Outside the contest, Marty will be active as PJ4/W1MD. QSL PJ4A via K4BAI or LoTW.

QSL PJ4/W1MD via his home callsign. Check out the "PJ4G Radio House" at:

A long time ago, before today's cellular telephones they had Mobile Radio Telephones or Car Phones. In most cities there was only one cell (Transmitter Tower) per frequency so that frequencies (Called Channels) had to be shared by all users. That meant there could not be a whole lot of people on each channel. Cellular systems now reuse channels by using directional antenna’s and low antenna elevations sSo more people have access to the spectrum.

Access was very limited then and the service was used mostly by Doctors and Lawyers who could afford the monthly rentals ($420 per month, adjusted for inflation). The Telephone Company really liked those people who got the service and rented the radio telephone equipment. Anyone who wanted to use their own personal equipment was put on a long waiting list.

The FCC, however, made a special provision for people who wanted to use their own equipment, so the Telephone Company had to give service to some of them. When you started this process you had to request an ‘Intent to Provide Service’ letter from your Telephone Company. That could take a year without a Priority Use Category, like being a Doctor. A regular person got the lowest Category 7; Red Cross, Doctors, etc. got Category 1. I had to get a Red Cross authorization letter to qualify. After I got my Letter of Intent from the Telephone Company I had to send it to the FCC to complete my application for a Domestic Public Land Mobile Radio Service License for my radio. There were also a few application and registration fees that go along with setting it all up. Another year could go by. My license was finally granted, KG6685, in 1963. That allowed me to operate on the Telephone Company frequencies of 43.38 MHz and 157.89 MHz (2 different units). The FCC Called those the “ZM” and “YJ” Channels. (There were 10 – Low Band Channels, 11 VHF Channels, and 6 UHF Channels In 1964). The equipment had to be “Type Accepted”, Tuned and labeled by an FCC Commercial Radio technician, be narrow banded and sometimes using crystal ovens.

I had to send my FCC license back to the Telephone Company with my final application and they then issued me my Telephone Number, like YJ 54321, and ZM 12345, You didn't use your FCC Call Sign.

After that using the phone using the Manual Telephone Service was easy, you would push the PTT and the “Mobile Service Operator” would come on, then you would give her your Phone number. Then you would ask her to call the number of the person you wanted to speak to. She would dial, it would ring, and if answered you would be connected. All that with 30 to 60-mile ranges for only $65 per month in 2020 dollars. (Plus a little extra charge, $2.50 per minute in 2020 dollars, if you exceeded the free 30 minutes of air time per month). The elite users had the Improved Mobile Telephone Service (IMTS), with multiple channels and a ‘Rotary Dial’ control head.

I had 2 Phones in my car so I could say: “Hold on my other phone is ringing’’. I was actually able to rent my ‘Comm Car’ out to an Aerospace Company for some communication links from the Edwards Air Force Base. That helped pay the bills.

My First radio was a Motorola 140D for 43 MHz and a Motorola FHTRU Handi-Talkie for 157 MHz, ¼ watt. It was modified to make it full duplex by jumpering the receiver filaments ‘On’ so the receiver would be ‘On’ during transmit and just using one 17” whip antenna. When you have a full duplex radio on a repeater system like that you can hear yourself so it becomes immediately obvious when you get into a bad location and finding a ‘Hot Spot” gives the system a 4X range. I replaced that radio with a Motorola HT-200, 1Watt, all transistorized Handi-Talkie. It was called the ‘Brick”. It worked on the YJ Channel in almost every city in the USA but I could not make it operate full duplex.

My regular vehicle Radio Telephone had a Western Electric 106A tone decoder, It used a delicate rotary relay to decode the ring-out tones that the Telephone Company used to call you. The AFSK tones were very slow and could easily be decoder by ear. I could decode incoming calls by ear when using my handi-talkies. The Western Electric decoder could blow the auto horn or just display a ‘Call Waiting’ light on the control head. The Mobile Telephone operator would hold on to your call information when you called back. If you wanted to call some mobile unit in a distant city, you had to call your Operator and ask for the Long Distance Operator, Then ask her to call the Mobile Service Operator in that distant city, She would then call the mobile. It really didn’t take very long. There was no nationwide calling, you had to know where your friend was to call him. There were never any robo calls.

When several of the Red Cross mobiles were active at the same time they could all talk Car-to-Car plus one connection to a land line if desired. These were mostly all Amateur Radio Operators using the Public Telephone System for the Red Cross because there was only one VHF AM amateur repeater in the area at that time. For local disaster operations we also used the Red Cross frequency 47.42 MHz.

Generally speaking we were to make disaster assessments, see that a disaster shelter was opened and find the shelter manager. Then make sure that he could communicate with headquarters. After an earthquake in 1970, 20,000 people were evacuated and about to be flooded by a Dam break. The shelter I was at had 1000 people but they had no drinking water. They slept in the gymnasium but every after-shock woke them all up. They had pay phones that were inoperative because they were jammed with quarters.

TUESDAY EDITION: I have an appt. with a surgeon today on my birthday, rotator cuff. I have already had one done so now I will have a matched set....Windy as hell on the island this morning, 60mph guts but we haven't lost power yet.....GET A FREE NEWSLETTER from Rick- KM1G and it's  good one, just send him an email request and you will be on his mailing list,  ka1hbh@gmail.com.

Moldova Peace Corps to Sponsor March 3 Amateur Radio on the International Space Station Contact

An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact between youngsters and youth in Moldova and an International Space Station (ISS) crew member is set for March 3. The Moldova Peace Corps (MPC) is the hosting organization, and 90 students (aged 10 – 18) from a consortium of educational institutions, rural schools, and libraries from nine Moldovan villages will participate.

MPC promotes economic and civic development with a particular focus on developing local resources in rural and suburban communities. Another focus of MPC is to provide youth in Moldovan villages with access to STEM opportunities and build capacity among local teachers/librarians to implement STEM activities in their curricula.

During the multipoint telebridge contact, students will take turns asking questions of astronaut Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG. ARISS team member David Payne, NA7V, in Oregon will serve as the relay amateur radio station.

In support of this contact, the MPC partnered with the staff at the Centre of Excellence for Space Sciences and Technologies within the Technical University of Moldova (UTM), the US Peace Corps Volunteer Coordinator, and the participating schools and libraries. The contact will be livestreamed via the MPC and UTM Facebook pages. 

WSPR Rowing Atlantic sea!

Maurice f6ciu says: Yes I did it!
Guirec Soudee, after 74 days at sea and over 2,900 nautical miles of rowing, between Canary Isl & Carabbean Isl I finally arrived this Friday February 26th in St Barthélemy.

On board there was an experimental WSPR beacon of less than one watt on 10 Mhz and the antenna a shortened mobil Diamond. the design of F4GOH & F6CIU worked wonderfully throughout the crossing despite two capsizes, antenna and beacon flips being submerged for several minutes.

The experience should be repeated in next summer between Cape Cod USA axis to Brest in Brittany, France.

MONDAY EDITION: One more month of winter, I can't wait to be able to open the windows and smell the ocean...I sold our boat last summer and need to buy another soon. We are looking for a 19-21 foot Whaler style open deck concept boat. I think I will start searching for a boat that has been trailered to fresh water lakes....I never liked golfing....Mr. Potato head survives the left wing pussies....Here is something to think about. What happens when you donate blood now? Is it checked for Covid virus? Is it checked which vaccine was taken?.........

Hacking a transmitter - 1920s style

Back in the 1920s, when electronic breadboading often used a real wood breadboard, swiped from the kitchen in the dark of night, a limited supply of commercial electronic components inspired ham radio hobbyists to roll their own capacitors, inductors, switches, and whatever else was needed to build a transmitter.

Today, Andy Flowers, call sign K0SM, recreates early transmitters using the same techniques and components that were used back in the day, and he uses them on the air.

Andy shows how it's done in this video from the Antique Wireless Museum

Tim Hunkin rides again with The Secret Life Of Components

Long-time readers may remember one of the occasional Engineering Heroes series that focused on the British engineer, inventor and sometime TV presenter Tim Hunkin, known for his intricate creations, unusual arcade machines, and Secret Life Of Machines TV series’ from the years around 1990. It seems we’re now in for a fresh treat as he’s returning to our screens via YouTube with a new series. The Secret Life Of Components will be his attempt to pass on the accumulated knowledge of a long career that most of us would have given our eyeteeth for.

There will be eight videos in the series which launches on the 4th of March, and judging by the snippets in the preview video below the break he’ll be covering a wide range including springs, adhesives, chains, belts, switches, and much more. His entertaining style and beautifully built working models are guaranteed to make for some very good content while giving a unique view into the workshop of a true master of the craft.

As an appetiser it’s worth reading our profile of Tim Hunkin. It features a visit to his Novelty Automation arcade in London’s Holborn, which should be an essential stop for any travelling Hackaday reader finding themselves in that city.

Spring Red Cross Emergency Communications Drill Set

The spring 2021 Red Cross Nationwide Emergency Communications Winlink Drill will be held on May 8, which is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day 2021. Details and instructions are available. Sign up for email updates. A

head of the May nationwide exercise, the American Red Cross (ARC) Emergency Communications training group will continue its Winlink Thursdays training sessions on March 11 and April 8.

Radio Emma Toc World Service - schedule

Programme Contents - A look at the value of radio, Scandinavian Weekend Radio, Radio Sweden's 'The Saturday Show', & lots of hellos to listeners, - followed by a 30 minute trial vintage music programme 'The Wireless Years'.

Ways to listen... Radio Emma Toc World Service - programme no. 11 - March 2021
You can listen online - www.emmatoc.com - visit the 'World Service' page.

You can listen to our shortwave or MW or FM broadcasts via our relay partners as follows:

WRMI - Radio Miami International - 9955kHz - covering Latin America (& beyond)
Tues 18:00 EasternTime / 23:00 UTC and Wed 20:00 Eastern Time / 01:00 (Thurs) UTC

WRMI - Radio Miami International - 5950kHz - covering Eastern North America (& far beyond)
Tues 16:00 Eastern Time / 21:00 UTC and Sunday 21:00 EasternTime / 02:00 (Monday) UTC

International Women's Day contest on Monday, March 8

Finland's SRAL reports International Women's Day will be celebrated in the spirit of a relaxed race.
The contest will take place on March 8 from 0000-2359 Finnish Time (2200-2159 GMT)

The contest will be on the HF bands using CW or SSB modes with up to 100 watts output.

The contest rules are at

ICQPodcast - Progressive changes at the ARRL

In this episode, Martin (M1MRB) is joined by Leslie Butterfield G0CIB, Dan Romanchik KB6NU and Edmund Spicer M0MNG to discuss the latest Amateur / Ham Radio news. Colin (M6BOY) rounds up the news in brief and in this episode’s features is in an interview with ARRL David Minster NA2AA, and the President, Rick Roderick K5UR as they discuss changes for the ARRL with Frank Howell K4FMH.


We would like to thank Tony Hickson (M5OTA), Mark Fairchild (2E0MFZ) and Richard Dalton and our monthly and annual subscription donors for keeping the podcast advert free. To donate, please visit - http://www.icqpodcast.com/donate

News stories include: -

• Concord Student Wins Congressional App Challenge
• ARRL Reject Additional VEC's
• ARRL to consider covering young members license fee
• German Radio Hams Tackling RF Noise Pollution
• UK Amateur Radio Operator Celebrates 100th Birthday
• The Royal Australian Air Force - 100 Year Centenary. VK100AF & VI100AF
• Light Up 2 Meters Night, an FM Simplex Event
• ARRL CEO David Minster (NA2AA) to keynote QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo

The ICQPodcast can be downloaded from http://www.icqpodcast.com

WEEKEND EDITION: Check this out, a map of the world showing all the radio stations and the link are have. You can listen to stations all over the world....How to grow amateur radio video...Quick thinking woman solves the wear a mask problem....Marines to honor the M40 sniper rifle....Take a trip down a bygone era at this new museum in the city, which houses over 100 radio sets, some from as far back as 1907....Space weather woman report...IC-7300 Firmware V1.40 has just been released.  This is quite a big one. The download and release notes are on the Icom Japan website,  along with a release document.  ...Acom talks about their great amplifiers....

Video Documents Removal, Preservation of 250 kW Voice of America Transmitter

With the former Voice of America Delano relay site in Central California scheduled for eventual demolition for resale, the Collins Collectors Association (CCA), in association with the Antique Wireless Association (AWA), came up with a plan in 2014 (working, among others, with past ARRL Midwestern Division Director Rod Blocksome, K0DAS, a former Collins engineer), to retrieve one of the Collins 821A-1 250 kW HF transmitters from the site and put it on display at the AWA museum in Bloomfield, New York.

The Delano site, known as DL-8, went on the air in 1944 with a 170-foot rhombic antenna. The Collins 821 A-1 transmitter was autotuned and could shift frequencies between 3.95 and 26.5 MHz in 20 seconds. The transmitter and its associated components represent serious heavy metal. The Delano site, now owned by the General Services Administration (GSA), remains with antennas still standing and buildings in place and demolition on hold, because it was discovered to be the habitat for an endangered species of shrew.

A video presentation featuring Dennis Kidder, W6DQ, describes and illustrates the entire removal and relocation effort and offers some background on the VOA. On the continental US, the only remaining VOA site is the Edward R. Murrow Greenville Transmitting Site in North Carolina. 

Foundations of Amateur Radio

How many hops in a jump?

Amateur radio lives and dies with the ionosphere. It's drilled into you when you get your license, it's talked about endlessly, the sun impacts on it, life is bad when the solar cycle is low and great when it's not. There's sun spots, solar K and A indices, flux, different ionosperic bands and tools online that help you predict what's possible and how likely it is depending on the time of day, the frequency, your location and the curent state of the sun. If that's not enough, the geomagnetic field splits a radio wave in the ionosphere into two separate components, ordinary and extraordinary waves.

All that complexity aside, there's at least one thing we can all agree on. A radio wave can travel from your station, bounce off the ionosphere, come back to earth and do it again. This is known as a hop or a skip. If conditions are right, you can hop all the way around the globe.

I wanted to know how big a hop might be. If you know that it's a certain distance, then you can figure out if you can talk to a particular station or not, because the hop might be on the earth, or it might be in the ionosphere. Simple enough right?

My initial research unearthed the idea that a hop was 4000 km. So, if you were attempting to talk to a station at 2000 km or at 6000 km you couldn't do that with a hop of 4000 km.

If you've been on HF, we both know that's not the case.

If you need proof, which you really should be asking for, you should check out what the propagation looks like for any FT8 station, or any WSPR beacon over time and you'll notice that it's not 4000 km.

Just like the crazy network of interacting parameters associated with propagation, the distance of a hop can vary, not a little, but a lot.

In 1962, in the Journal of Geophysical Research D.B. Muldrew and R.G. Maliphant contributed an article titled: "Long-Distance One-Hop Ionospheric Radio-Wave Propagation". They found that in temperate regions such a hop might be 7500 km and in equatorial regions even 10,000 km.

I'm mentioning this because this was based on observations and measurements.

They used frequency sweeps from 2 to 49 MHz though they called them Mega Cycles, using 100 kHz per second, that is, over the duration of a second, the frequency changed by 100 kHz, so each sweep took nearly 8 minutes using only 15 kilowatts, so substantial gear, not to mention expense and availability.

Oh, computers, yes, they used those too. A three tonne behemoth called an IBM 650, mind you, that's only the base unit, consisting of a card reader, power supply and a console holding a magnetic drum unit.

You know I'm going somewhere with this right?

Today, you can do the same measurements with a $5 computer and a $20 receiver. For a transmitter, any HF capable radio will do the trick, though you might not be transmitting long if you stray outside the amateur bands. For power, 5 Watts is plenty to get the job done.

My point is that there is a debate around the future of our hobby and why modes like FT8 are such a controversial topic in some communities.

I'm here to point out that since that publication in 1962 our hobby has made some progress and we can improve on the work done by people who came before us. We could build a glob-spanning real-time propagation visualisation tool, we already have the data and modes like FT8 keep feeding in more.

If you're inclined, you could even make such a plot in real-time for your own station.

So, how long is a hop?

You'll just have to find out.

I'm Onno VK6FLAB

TV show looks at disappearance of radio ham

On Monday, March 1, at 9pm AEDT (1000 GMT) the Channel 9 TV show Under Investigation covers the unexplained disappearance of both radio amateur Russell Hill VK3VZP and a friend missing since March 20, 2020

Russell was camping in the remote Wonnangatta Valley and his last amateur radio contact was with Rob Ashlin VK3BEZ at 6pm on March 20, he has not been heard from since.

On March 21 the campsite was found with the tent burned to the ground and Mr Hill's Toyota Land Cruiser sitting next to it.

Information on the show is at


OI activity day on Friday March 5

Finland's SRAL reports military radio amateurs using the OI callsign prefix will be on-the-air on Friday, March 5

OI is a rare prefix, there are only about 35 stations with an OI callsign and a special ham radio award is available for working contacts with the OI prefixed stations.

To be eligible for the award, stations need to work contacts with different OI prefixed stations as follows:

• Stations located outside of Finland need to work five OI stations  
• Those who are in Finland need to work ten contacts.

OI Award https://sirad.fi/oi-award/

SRAL https://tinyurl.com/IARU-Finland

ARRL Interview Explains Background of Ham Radio in Space Film Short

Josh Tanner, the Australian filmmaker who produced the thriller Decommissioned by Perception Pictures, has explained how he came up with the idea to develop the movie short. In the approximately 6-minute film, SuitSat returns in the future to haunt International Space Station commander “Diaz,” played by Joey Vieira, who spots SuitSat, the surplus Russian Orlan spacesuit that was turned into an amateur radio satellite several years ago by Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS).

An exclusive ARRL video interview premiering on Saturday, February 27, brings together Tanner, who directed the sci-fi horror film about an eerie ham-radio-in-space reencounter, and ARISS-International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO. In the interview, conducted by ARRL volunteer Josh Nass, KI6NAZ, of the popular YouTube channel Ham Radio Crash Course, Tanner described the uniquely creative and technical aspects of the filmmaking involved in Decommissioned and its connection with the real-life SuitSat-1. 

“My wife, Jade, who is also a co-writer of this short film, and I are both really obsessed with space, and we discovered SuitSat on Wikipedia,” Tanner said in the interview. “It was an initial sort of two-pronged reaction. One, this is genius. It’s amazing that they did this; I’d never heard this before. And the second one was, this is kinda creepy…that they had what looks like a stranded, dead astronaut floating around the Earth…and there were voices of children being transmitted from it.”

SuitSat-1 transmitted a voice message, “This is SuitSat-1 RS0RS!”, in several languages, plus telemetry and a slow-scan TV image on an 8-minute cycle as it orbited Earth.

Tanner said a lot of the films he produces involve "pieces of history that are rather quite odd or interesting that maybe a lot of people don’t know about.”

Bauer described the background of the 2006 SuitSat project, which involved ARISS’s relationship with Sergey Samburov, RV3DR. Samburov was “the initial brainchild” behind the SuitSat-1 concept, and ARISS ran with it, Bauer recounted.

“We had 3 weeks to pull it all together and get it ready for launch,” Bauer said, and that included getting safety approvals. SuitSat-1 operated for about 2 weeks, and a contest of sorts evolved to guess when it would burn up in the atmosphere, which wasn’t until about 6 months later. A SuitSat-2 was launched from the ISS several years later.

Tanner said the Decommissioned script was written about 3 years ago, but creating the realistic atmosphere and sets involved a number of complexities, which was “very expensive,” he revealed. A big push toward using video game engine technology in feature-film development made it possible. Decommissioned was produced using a game engine called Unreal Engine, which was also used to produce the TV show The Mandalorian.

Grab your popcorn and avoid a spoiler. ARRL recommends viewing the short film before watching the 45-minute interview. The interview premieres on ARRL’s YouTube channel, Saturday, February 27, at 1600 UTC.

ARRL reminds interested schools and educational organizations in the US that the latest window to submit proposals to host scheduled ham radio contacts with an ISS crew member opened on February 15. Contacts would be scheduled January 1 – June 30, 2022. Proposals are due to ARISS by 0759 UTC on April 1. 

In the US, ARRL is a partner in the ARISS program, along with AMSAT, NASA, and the ISS National Lab, which has kept amateur radio on the air from the International Space Station for 20 years. 

Wildlife Outnumber Participants in Winter Yellowstone VHF Radio Rally

Wyoming and southern Montana hams belonging to the north Yellowstone Amateur Radio Club and Park County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) took to the wilderness in late January during heavy snow to take part in an emergency preparedness exercise. The groups have about 15 members in all; many more bison and elk roam the roads than do hams.

The critical winter duty for North Yellowstone radio amateurs is deployment to remote locations of winter emergencies. To train for these responses, the members devised the VHF Radio Relay, a radio scavenger hunt designed to get members out to remote road locations where winter emergencies may require radio communications support. The group uses the Eagle’s Nest repeater located at 8,000 feet on Electric Peak southwest of Gardiner, Montana — the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The repeater covers the northern one-third of the vast park and southern half of Park County, Montana.

Participants rigorously observed COVID-19 precautions. Participating hams received two pages of instructions. The first contained directions for completing their call-out assignment and listed 15 locations that required hams to deploy to the far reaches of the radio coverage area. The second page consisted of a map. Only three roads are in the area, and conditions on one dirt road are typically difficult. Each route had five locations along the way to the terminal checkpoint. The 15 widely spaced locations guaranteed that no operator could visit all of them.

Each location was assigned a tactical call sign, and communicators had to use GPS to verify that they were in their precise positions. At all locations, hams radioed net control to have their location verified before moving to the next location.

On two roads, an interpretive sign stood at the last check-in point. Participating hams had to call in from the sign and were given instructions on how to find a code word hidden on the sign to verify their location — for example, the seventh word in the third paragraph — and relay it to net control. Each participant had a different code word.

Locations were chosen so that hams needed to plan their route strategy — ideally before leaving the starting point, where odometer readings were recorded. Directions included a safety warning about bison and elk on the road, and bad driving conditions due to snow. All departed at 9 AM and were to be back at the starting point at 11:30 AM. A prize was awarded to the ham who visited the most locations with the lowest mileage. First place went to Doug MacCartney, K7GRZ, and second place to Reve Carberry, KX4LZ. Jim Halfpenny, K9YNP, served as net control. — Thanks to Park County Emergency Coordinator and ARRL PIO Jim Halfpenny, K9YNP 


It's time we discussed height privilege and how it disproportionately affects transgender, people of color and fuels rape culture. You see, although there are no physical or biological differences between men and women, because sex and gender are just social constructs pushed by the patriarchy, men are generally taller than women, so when a man is very tall, the proximity of his penis is closer to the mouth of nearby shorter women. Women are then forced to "speak into the mic", every time they say something, and if they are educating a straight male by yelling at him, the mouth is open even wider which risks exposure to bodily fluids such as semen or perhaps even urine if they're from Sweden or Germany. In fact women speaking to such tall men simulates oral sex in a variety of ways, but NONE of them are consensual. We feminists call this P.I.F.S or "Penis in Face Syndrome". At a recent feminist conference, women were finally given equality, and height privilege removed by use of platform shoes, which we are currently lobbying to have made mandatory on college campus. We are also intending to push thin privilege in future and force fit people to walk around campus wearing heavy weighted bags, so they know just how difficult it is for cellulite-diverse people.

THURSDAY EDITION: How to use tall skinny trees for an antenna....Fighter pilots pass out but software saves them....A kit to inject an RFID chip, but why?...Apple to pair up with KIA and produce a car by 2024?....


Could you get the benefits of a COVID vaccine by having it injected into your butt instead of your arm, if for some reason you wanted to do that and were capable of finding a medical professional who would do it?

Let’s get straight to the point here: Yes. The COVID vaccine would still work if you had it injected in your butt. But for most people—not all people, but most people—this would be an anti-social thing to do, and for more than the obvious reason.

A posterior injection would work, as Dr. Robert Amler explains, because the available COVID vaccines are “intramuscular.” (Amler is the dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice at New York Medical College and a former chief medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) They will function wherever there’s enough muscle tissue to absorb them. (The Pfizer vaccine dose is 0.3 milliliters of liquid; the Moderna dose is 0.5 milliliters.) “From that tissue, the body and, basically, the bloodstream gradually passes it around,” Amler says. “As it passes around, the immune system detects it and says hey, there’s something here from someplace else.”

Fry's Electronics shutting down all stores, ending 36 years as a big-box stop for tech enthusiasts

Fry’s Electronic’s, the big-box chain that was a longtime, one-stop shop for tech enthusiasts, is shutting down after 36 years in business. The company cited “changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Fry’s made the announcement in a statement on its website early Wednesday, where all other content had disappeared. But the writing had been on the wall for at least two years as empty store shelves began to signal that the San Jose, Calif.,-based company was in trouble.

Fry’s operated 31 stores across nine states, including one in Renton, south of Seattle — the only Washington location. GeekWire visited that store in October 2019 as internet reports began to circulate that the chain may be struggling in the age of Amazon and increased online shopping.

The 152,000-square-foot Renton store was a sea of empty shelves at the time, with very few employees — or customers — wandering departments ranging from personal computers to televisions to office furniture. But a spokesman for Fry’s told GeekWire back then that Fry’s was “gearing up for the holiday season” and that it was planning to restock over the next several weeks with no plans to liquidate or close any stores.

Holding an extension cable to power a CPU in a computer he was fixing, customer Jordan Jones told GeekWire in 2019 that Fry’s was “the last bastion of hardware shopping.”

He said then that empty shelves were a scary sign for brick-and-mortar retail in general. “They used to have all these computer boxes stacked,” he said, waving his arm from floor to ceiling at scattered boxes on shelves nearby.

Founded in 1985 in Sunnyvale, Calif., Fry’s had been an electronics institution for decades, once boasting on its website that it catered to the high-tech professional and sold more than 50,000 electronic items in its stores.

As rumors of the shut-down began circulating on Twitter Tuesday night, some shoppers shared their appreciation for the chain’s adherence to a bizarre “theme” approach to each store’s decor. While the Renton store focused on regional history, others had elaborate displays tied to Egyptian history, Atlantis, the Wild West, the Gold Rush and more.

Cherokee Challenge Flight - London to Sydney the slow way

Join us on this amazing adventure of a lifetime. Two chaps, a light aircraft and an HF radio piloting their way from Blighty to Oz, the slow way! Andy Hardy G1AJH (ex VK2CHA). Their flight supported Oxfam in the fight against poverty: https://www.oxfam.org.uk/​

(Presentation given to Bury Radio Society and Warrington Amateur Radio Club)


"Whirlwind Boom" Emergency Communications Exercise Set in Northern Florida

The amateur radio communications team of the Florida Baptist Disaster Relief has created a multi-site radio communications exercise dubbed “Whirlwind Boom,” designed to bring together volunteers and local agencies across northern Florida and throughout the southeastern US. The 2-hour drill is set for Friday, March 19. Invitations have gone out to Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) groups, county-level emergency managers, state communications experts, and federal SHARES HF radio program volunteers, and volunteers taking part in the 2021 Florida Baptist Disaster Relief on-site training the following day.

The exercise scenario involved tornadoes coupled with the terrorist bombing of the telephone system, and large numbers of displaced residents seeking shelter. Only radio remains. During the exercise, volunteers will practice transmitting formal reports about the utility, water, and safety situations in their counties (Incident Action Plan). Many participants will communicate across hundreds of miles using portable radio gear powered by car batteries or small generators. Simulated outbound survivor messages to friends and family will also be sent by radio. Participating groups will receive secret messages advising them of unexpected handicaps that mimic what might happen during an actual disaster — complicating their tasks.

Core capabilities are mass care services and operational communications. Exercise objectives include antenna deployment, emergency power usage, communications planning, voice communication, establishment of a command net, preparing and handling formal status reports, tactical communications, survivor message handling, data communication, handling resource requests, efficient response times, promoting interoperability, and volunteer management.

-yhn brrThese exercises are structured in accordance with Department of Homeland Security training guidelines. For more information, contact Gordon Gibby, KX4Z.

Affected Residents in Texas

ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) and American Red Cross volunteers joined forces in Texas under the ARRL/Red Cross memorandum of understanding in responding to the situation resulting from unseasonably frigid weather. Kevin McCoy, KF5FUZ, said the Red Cross formally requested an ARES activation in Texas to address the effects of the natural disaster, which included a lack of drinking water, power outages, fuel shortages, and frozen plumbing, among others. Red Cross in Central Texas supported more than 60 warming shelters at the request of governmental agencies.

“We made a special effort to use Winlink email over radio to get reports of infrastructure problems and unmet needs [and to] communicate information about warming centers,” McCoy said. “I would say that Winlink operators attending local nets and passing on information was the most valuable contribution in this unusual and unprecedented disaster. We had literally hundreds of Winlink operators across Texas who were trained and ready. Some of these teams, especially in counties that are still suffering, may be active with other served agencies.”

Several teams deployed to support emergency operations centers (EOCs) in Bexar, Brazos, Kerr, Travis, and Williamson counties, he said. “Some of these ARES organizations were also serving the needs of the National Weather Service and local government — as was the case in Williamson County,” McCoy added.

“Our effort in the start of the activity was to focus on folks with medical needs who required power, and to get those folks to safety,” McCoy said. “Reports from operators were passed to Disaster Program Managers and Disaster Action Teams and to Red Cross Disaster Mental Health personnel for evaluation. Government partners and citizens provided transportation and Red Cross provided hotel rooms in areas with reliable power to keep these citizens safe while following COVID protocols.”

An early report from Texas Hill Country concerned infrastructure failures in public service communication towers, which affected 911 calls in Mason County. This was followed by loss of cell towers in nearby counties. “Those early reports really gave us an idea of what we were in for, and that was the beginning of power failure escalation in Texas,” McCoy said.

Power outages have now dropped from some 4 million customers to some 100,000, indicating the start of recovery operations, with damage assessment already under way.

On February 20, Red Cross made a formal stand-down request to Texas ARES sections from the Central and South Texas Red Cross Region. “Transportation, communication, and internet had restored sufficiently to allow for that change of status,” McCoy said. “We made a call out to the 83 counties that we serve, and did not receive any requests. We did let all Winlink operators know that we would still monitor the tactical addresses until the disaster recovery was over. We have had some infrastructure and condition reports after we sent the stand-down.”

McCoy said some ARRL Section Managers and local Emergency Coordinators were strongly encouraging their teams to engage in their communities as their radio responsibilities decrease. He cited SEC Greg Evans, K5GTX, as “an excellent example” of an SEC who has been keeping his team both well informed and well armed with “how ARES/ARRL operators can help best through the phases of this unprecedented event.”

Key issues remaining include the prolonged power outage and the freezing weather that left Texas with damaged water infrastructure. “Things are improving rapidly,” McCoy said on February 22, “but coupled with the loss of transportation and people being without water for days, we have a huge need for points of distribution for water inventories and additional water flowing into the state.”

“We have a lot of work to do,” said McCoy, who called it, “a very frustrating environment for organizations that want to help.”

“We all are getting a lesson in the cascading failures resulting from cold and power outages. Government, business, and non-governmental organizations are all cooperating to help.”

WEDNESDAY EDITION: Connecting a modern radio to a legacy amplifier.....Why am I not surprised that dogs in Russia are turning pink and blue?.....There is no shortage of dumbass people...While planting a tree, homeowners find a bunch of of firearms buried....

CAN YOU HELP US?- My local repeater hosts a 6pm net on M-W-F on 145.130 in Gloucester, MA and we have had 97 different check-ins this year, could you check in and say hi via Echolink- W1GLO so we can break the 100 check-in number. We have topics to discuss and it is a great bunch of low key hams....please drop by! Topics posted on the site. Regular check-ins include ham from England, Canada, and states all over the US.

Is it Time for Ham Radio to acknowledge the Hacker Community?

The concept of Ham Radio originated over a hundred years ago, and as of today, it is not in an ideal position. You may have already heard people talk about how ham radio is dying, and even though there is a lot of truth to that, there are still things that can be done to save this community.

People who ruled amateur radio have gotten old, and now the young blood needs to step up to keep the tradition going. The good news is that in the past couple of years many amateur licenses have been issued and it is being revived slowly. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for Ham radios has also increased. Many specialized online shops are currently offering CB radios for sale under leading brands in the industry.  STORY

Capstan winch central to this all-band adjustable dipole antenna

The perfect antenna is the holy grail of amateur radio. But antenna tuning is a game of inches, and since the optimum length of an antenna depends on the frequency it’s used on, the mere act of spinning the dial means that every antenna design is a compromise. Or perhaps not, if you build this infinitely adjustable capstan-winch dipole antenna.

Dipoles are generally built to resonate around the center frequency of one band, and with allocations ranging almost from “DC to daylight”, hams often end up with a forest of dipoles. [AD0MZ]’s adjustable dipole solves that problem, making the antenna usable from the 80-meter band down to 10 meters. To accomplish this feat it uses something familiar to any sailor: a capstan winch.

The feedpoint of the antenna contains a pair of 3D-printed drums, each wound with a loop of tinned 18-gauge antenna wire attached to some Dacron cord. These make up the adjustable-length elements of the antenna, which are strung through pulleys suspended in trees about 40 meters apart. Inside the feedpoint enclosure are brushes from an electric drill to connect the elements to a 1:1 balun and a stepper motor to run the winch. As the wire pays out of one spool, the Dacron cord is taken up by the other; the same thing happens on the other side of the antenna, resulting in a balanced configuration.

We think this is a really clever design that should make many a ham happy across the bands. We even see how this could be adapted to other antenna configurations, like the end-fed halfwave we recently featured in our “$50 Ham” series.


Kangaroo Island QSO status

VK5KI (OC-139) QSL STATUS. Grant, VK5GR, reports: For those looking for electronic confirmation from the VK5KI activation on Kangaroo Island (OC-139), the LOTW records were uploaded today (Feb. 15th) and the blackout period for ClubLog matching should be ending also.

Thanks again to everyone to gave us a call in January 2021. If you still want a paper QSL card - OQRS is open via my QSL Manager Charles, M0OXO.

Youth on the Air will Make Final Decision on Summer Camp in April

Plans remain up in the air for the Youth on the Air (YOTA) in the Americas summer camp, tentatively set for July 11 – 16 in West Chester, Ohio.

“We know that changes in the COVID-19 pandemic status between now and July will have an impact on our decision to host the camp,” 2021 YOTA Americas Camp Director Neil Rapp, WB9VPG, said. “At this time, we are still hopeful that hosting the camp safely July 11 – 16, 2021 will be possible. Should we not be able to host the camp, we will let everyone know with as much notice as possible and postpone it to 2022. Our plan is to make the final decision in the month of April.”

ARRL CEO David Minster, NA2AA, to Keynote QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo

ARRL CEO David Minster, NA2AA, will keynote the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo March 13 – 14 weekend. Minster’s talk — part of an 80+ speaker lineup — will begin at 2000 UTC (3 PM EST) on March 13. His appearance will highlight ARRL’s featured role at the Expo, which also will include “Ask The ARRL Lab.” ARRL is a QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo Partner.

Minster, who assumed the ARRL Headquarters leadership position last September, has launched major projects and assembled teams to foster innovation and individual skill development in radio technology and communications. In his keynote, Minster will share his enthusiasm for advancing amateur radio and highlight current ARRL initiatives to engage and inspire the current generation of hams. His presentation topics will include:

  • ARRL’s digital transformation, which promises to bring new value to ARRL members. An all-in digital approach will improve the way members access and engage with content, programs, and systems.
  • The ARRL Learning Center, a hub for members to discover the many facets of amateur radio and develop practical knowledge and skills.
  • Increasing video content, opening opportunities for amateur radio content creators and member-volunteers to learn, stay informed, and keep connected.
  • Improving training and tools to engage radio clubs, emergency communication volunteers, and students.

The ARRL Expo booth will feature “Ask the ARRL Lab,” where Lab staffers will answer questions live. Attendees can come into the booth lounge (featuring the Expo’s latest virtual meet-up and video technology), sit down at a virtual table, and ask ARRL Lab technical wizards for tips about projects or suggestions to address various station installations and problems. Attendees can also learn about Product Review equipment testing by the Lab, see a presentation on how the Lab can help hams with RFI problems, and tour W1AW — the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station — virtually. ARRL booth staff will also point attendees to helpful resources from across membership benefits, services, and programs.

Representing the ARRL Lab will be Lab Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI; Test Engineer Bob Allison, WB1GCM; Senior Laboratory Engineer Zack Lau, W1VT; RFI Engineer Paul Cianciolo, W1VLF, and W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q. Between all of them, they have over 100 years of experience at ARRL Headquarters,

QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo Chairman Eric Guth, 4Z1UG, also announced four live group kit-building workshops. Workshop instructors will guide participants through building a variety of kits, which will be available for purchase and delivered prior to the Expo so attendees can build them at home. Attendees unable to participate during the live sessions can order and build kits by watching the workshop videos during the on-demand period that follows the Expo through April 12.

Workshop kits prices range from $15 to $30. Early-bird discount tickets and links to purchase kits can be found at the QSO Today Expo website. These workshops will include:

  • Building the NS-40 QRP Transmitter, a 14-component, 5 W transmitter for 7.030 MHz (with instructors David Cripe, NM0S, and Virginia Smith, NV5F).
  • The Learn-to-Solder Workshop will introduce the basic tools and techniques of building electronic kits. Participants will build a 20-meter transmitter kit (with instructors Rex Harper, W1REX, and Stephen Houser, N1SH).
  • Building the Cric-Key, a simple CW keyer with paddle, suitable for home and field use (with instructor Joe Eisenberg, K0NEB).
  • The Mini-Sudden Receiver, a pocket-and-mint-tin friendly direct-conversion 20-meter receiver (with instructors Rex Harper, W1REX, and Stephen Houser, N1SH).    

Registration will continue until February 28 for campers accepted to the camp for the 2020 session to attend in 2021. At that point, Rapp said, he will evaluate how many positions remain for additional campers from across the Americas in order to fill out the roster of 30 campers and take applications in March for the remaining slots. “We are also looking at an operating event in the summer,” Rapp said. “Stay tuned.”

TUESDAY EDITION: The Cherokee tribe has requested discussions with the Jeep Corporation about the damage the Jeep Cherokee model is doing to their ego...they want it changed to something else, when will this politically correct bullshit end?....Today's Dumbass from where? Florida of course...Solar earth storm video....

Become an amateur radio operator: Free online classes prepare people for upcoming FCC licensing exam

Amateur radio has been around for more than 100 years and, in this day of cell phones, computers and other high-tech devices, ham radio, as it is also known, continues to play an important role in the world of communication.

“In an emergency when normal communication links are down, hams with stations operating with off-grid backup power sources can serve as a communication resource,” said longtime amateur radio operator Don Campbell (call sign KE6HEC).

“Amateur radio,” he said, “is a component of most emergency action plans and ham equipment is installed in Humboldt County Office of Education schools, fire departments, the Humboldt County Emergency Operations Center, Humboldt State University and Caltrans.”

Jaye Inabnit (KE6SLS), an avid ham operator and past president of the Humboldt Amateur Radio Club, said, “Hams around Humboldt County and across the USA communicate without the need for electrical grid. Be it a quick call to advise of our situation or full email and pictures, hams can and do this every day without our grid or cell phones.”

Ham radio operators also provide communication support for community events such as parades, races and bike rides, take part in “contesting,” which involves attempting to make as many contacts as possible within a set time frame, and are involved in many other activities, too.

Local ham radio operator Cliff VanCott (KN6CEJ) said, “We coordinate our local training sessions. We build a network of communicators via scheduled nets now, so that when a disaster hits, we already know who and how to reach out. By preparing in advance, we are better situated to respond to immediate needs more rapidly.

“We also have fun,” VanCott noted. “Contests, field days, swap meets, weekly lunches, monthly meetings, etc., all build a social structure across which many lifelong friendships are built. Boy Scouts have a radio merit badge. Many colleges have radio clubs. It’s not all work and no play.”

Jaye Inabnit operates in a tent above Horse Mountain during a ham radio contest. (Jay Inabnit — Submitted)
Inabnit said, “I’ve been enjoying making voice contacts with the International Space Station … and some of our newer satellites in orbit. I also have fun sending and receiving from hams around the planet. Finally, I really enjoy just chatting with my friends from Arizona to Montana in the evenings. It’s like having hundreds of your best friends over all at the same time.”

In March, the Humboldt Amateur Radio Club will offer a free class to help prepare people for the Federal Communications Commission’s Amateur Radio Technician Class license examination on May 15.

Read the full story at

Elon Musk: SpaceX will double Starlink's satellite internet speeds in 2021

CNET report that SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter Monday that his company's satellite internet service, Starlink, will offer speeds close to 300 Mbps later in 2021. That's roughly twice as fast as currently advertised, and would represent a significant step forward for the service as it seeks to deliver high-speed internet to underserved regions across the globe.

Musk adds that the growing network of satellites should offer complete global coverage "by next year."

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter Monday that his company's satellite internet service, Starlink, will offer speeds close to 300 Mbps later in 2021. That's roughly twice as fast as currently advertised, and would represent a significant step forward for the service as it seeks to deliver high-speed internet to underserved regions across the globe.

The tweet came in reply to a customer posting their at-home speed test results with a newly installed Starlink connection.

Latency, a measure of how long it takes your internet signal to travel to space and back, will also drop to around 20ms this year, Musk added. That would be a validation of the company's strategy of launching its satellites into low-Earth orbit, which reduces the distance that those signals need to travel. That strategy has also raised red flags with astronomers worried about obstructions to night sky visibility, which is something SpaceX has been working to address with updates to its satellite design.

Musk went on to reply to another user who asked for a coverage map, telling them that Starlink will cover "most of Earth by end of year, all by next year." From there, Musk said, it's all about "densifying coverage," though he noted that the satellite internet coverage is best suited for regions with low to medium population density.

Read the full CNET article


Any valid QSO with these stations will score a flat ten points regardless of distance. This will somewhat counterbalance the distance-related scores enjoyed by stations well away from the EI/G centre of activity and hopefully make it more interesting for modest stations that are based in EI/G and further afield.

Joe EI7GY will be operating EI5G for this contest and he will be certainly be running some pileups. The big event for SSB Top Band operators is on next weekend when the CQ Worldwide SSB 160m contest kicks off at 2200 on Friday night and runs until 2200 on Sunday night. North American stations will give report plus state or province while all others will give report and CQ Zone.The UKEICC monthly one hour 80m CW Contest will be held on Wednesday next the 24th at 2000. EI5G and, for this contest at least, GM7V will be bonus stations. Any valid QSO with these stations will score a flat ten points regardless of distance. This will somewhat counterbalance the distance-related scores enjoyed by stations well away from the EI/G centre of activity and hopefully make it more interesting for modest stations that are based in EI/G and further afield.

Joe EI7GY will be operating EI5G for this contest and he will be certainly be running some pileups.

The big event for SSB Top Band operators is on next weekend when the CQ Worldwide SSB 160m contest kicks off at 2200 on Friday night and runs until 2200 on Sunday night. North American stations will give report plus state or province while all others will give report and CQ Zone.

Amateur Radio Operators Help Fill Earthquake Donut Holes

Ham radio networks gear up to provide real-time, on-the-ground information about earthquake shaking and damage when other communication pathways are knocked out of commission.  STORY

MONDAY EDITION: Sid sends along a link, interesting....Damn scary flight of the 777 with engine problems, a Pratt and Whitney engine...Freeze a Yankee story.....Panadapter for any radio....

Email: I was pointed today to a great Jean Shepherd story about unlicensed hams bootlegging other calls even in the days of much greater FCC enforcement - he tells it in super entertaining form here:
73,Phil W1PJE

QSO Today with Gerald Youngblood, K5SDR from FlexRadio

Gerald Youngblood, K5SDR, is the founder and CEO of FlexRadio that is now on the cutting edge of building advanced software defined radio (SDR) platforms for amateur radio, as well as for government, business, and the military. Gerald is a leader and pioneer in the development of SDR leading to the founding of FlexRadio.

This episode is a newly minted version of the original interview that I had with K5SDR in 2015.


Dummy Load made with (salt?) water, how does this work???

CME to sideswipe Earth this week

Over the weekend, a dark filament of magnetism on the sun blew up, hurling a coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. NOAA computer models confirm that the CME should sideswipe Earth on Feb. 23rd or 24th.

The glancing blow could cause minor G1-class geomagnetic storms and high-latitude auroras.

Full story @ Spaceweather.com.


One Megawatt of Peak AM Power - Saving the Voice of America Delano Relay DL-8

In 2007, the Voice of America ceased operations at the Delano Relay site in Central California. The site is destined to be bulldozed along with several relics of Collins Radio Company's Broadcast Communications Division.

The Collins Collectors Association, with assistance from the Antique Wireless Association, hatched a plan to retrieve one of the Collins 821A-1 250 KW Shortwave Transmitters from the site and place it on display for all to see. This presentation gives some history of VoA and the Delano site and follows the disassembly and relocation of Delano Relay DL-8.

Dennis Kidder, W6DQ, is a retired Aerospace Engineer, having spent nearly 45 years in System Engineering. His career spanned many fields - from building and operating large scale sound systems, computer systems used to publish newspapers and control communications satellites, 4 years as the Chief Telecom Engineer during the construction of the New Hong Kong International Airport, and finally, air defense radar systems and networked radio communications systems used by the military.

First licensed as WN6NIA then WA6NIA over 50 years ago, Dennis was granted the callsign of one of his High School Elmers, Chek Titcomb (SK), W6DQ. Amateur Radio has been a nearly life-long passion.

If you enjoyed this video, consider becoming a member of the Antique Wireless Association at


Operators Dan/N1ZZ, Don/AF4Z, Walter/WB5ZGA and Vince/K4JC, will be active as PJ2T from Curacao (SA-099, WLOTA 0942) in the ARRL DX SSB Contest (March 6-7th) as a Multi/? entry.


Operators will be on the island between March 1-5th, and will be active as PJ2/homecall on 160-10 meters using CW, SSB, CW and possibly FT8.

QSL PJ2/homecalls via their homecalls.

New England Hams you might run across 75 meters.........

K1TP- Jon....Editor of As The World Turns....
KA1BXB-Don...Regular on 3928 afternoons....just don't mention politics to him, please!
WB1ABC- Ari..Bought an amp and now we can here him on 75 meters, worships his wife, obsessed with Id'ing
N1BOW-Phil...Retired broadcast engineer, confused and gullible, cheap, only uses single ply toilet paper
KB1OWO- Larry...
Handsome Fellow ,only cuts lawn in August, plows snow the rest in Jackman, Maine
W1GEK- Big Mike....Nearfest Cook, big motor home, electronics software engineer ...
AA1SB- Neil...Living large traveling the country with his girlfriend...loves CW
N1YX- Igor....peddles quality Russian keys, software engineer
K1BGH...Art.....Restores cars and radio gear, nice fella...
N1XW.....Mike-easy going, Harley riding kind of guy!
K1JEK-Joe...Easy going, can be found at most ham flea market ...Cobra Antenna builder..
KA1GJU- Kriss- Tower climbing pilot who cooks on the side at Hosstrader's...
W1GWU-Bob....one of the Hosstrader's original organizers, 75 meter regular, Tech Wizard!!!
K1PV- Roger....75 meter regular, easy going guy...
W1XER...Scott....easy going guy, loves to split cordwood and hunt...
WS1D- Warren- "Windy" - Bullnet
KB1VX- Barry- the picture says it all, he loves food!
KC1BBU- Bob....the Mud Duck from the Cape Cod Canal, making a lot of noise.
W1STS- Scott...philosopher, hat connoisseur,
KB1JXU- Matthew...75 meter regular...our token liberal Democrat out of VT

KMIG-Rick....75 Meter Regular....teaches the future of mankind, it's scary!
K1PEK-Steve..Founder of Davis-RF....my best friend from high school 

K9AEN-John...Easy going ham found at all the ham fests
K1BQT.....Rick....very talented ham, loves his politics, has designed gear for MFJ...
W1KQ- Jim-  Retired
Air Force Controller...told quite a few pilots where to go!
N1OOL-Jeff- The 3936 master plumber and ragchewer...
K1BRS-Bruce- Computer Tech of 3936...multi talented kidney stone passing ham...
K1BGH- Arthur, Cape Cod, construction company/ice cream shop, hard working man....
W1VAK- Ed, Cape Cod, lots of experience in all areas, once was a Jacques Cousteus body guard....
K1BNH- Bill- Used to work for a bottled gas company-we think he has been around nitrous oxide to long .

Silent Key Neil -K1YPM .....a true gentleman
Silent Key K1BXI- John.........Dr. Linux....fine amateur radio op ....wealth of experience...
Silent Key
VA2GJB- Graham...one of the good 14313 guys back in the day.
Silent Key K1BHV- David...PITA
Silent Key W1JSH- Mort...Air Force man
Silent Key K1MAN--Glen....PITA
Silent KeyKB1CJG-"Cobby"- Low key gent can be found on many of the 75 meter nets.........
Silent KeyWB1AAZ- Mike, Antrim, NH, auto parts truck driver-retired

Silent KeyWB1DVD- Gil....Gilly..Gilmore.....easy going, computer parts selling, New England Ham..
Silent Key W1OKQ- Jack....3936 Wheeling and Dealing......keeping the boys on there toes....
Silent Key W1TCS- Terry....75 meter regular, wealth of electronic knowledge...
Silent Key WIPNR- Mack....DXCC Master, worked them all!.. 3864 regular for many years...
Silent Key
WILIM- Hu....SK at 92... 3864 regular for many years...
Silent Key N1SIE- Dave....Loves to fly
Silent Key:
N1WBD- Big Bob- Tallest ham, at 6'10", of the 3864 group
Silent Key: W1FSK-Steve....Navy Pilot, HRO Salesman, has owned every radio ever built!
Silent Key: W4NTI-Vietnam Dan....far from easy going cw and ssb op on 14275/313
Silent Key:K1FUB-Bill- Loved ham radio....